At a Glance
Choosing the ideal bedding material doesn't have to be daunting as it seems. We're here to help you decide between TENCEL™ and bamboo sheets.
- Consider the material's sustainability.
- Factor in wrinkle-resistant and color retention properties.
- Look out for certifications such as Oeko-Tex.
When it comes to buying high-quality bed sheets, our options have expanded far beyond cotton. While cotton is still indisputably the king of textile, its carbon footprint has led to many searching for alternatives.
Despite the wide range of options, there are two up and coming materials that are here to challenge its position in the bedding world - TENCEL™ and bamboo.
Bed sheets come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and of course, materials. All these factors could potentially make shopping for bedsheets online a daunting task. As TENCEL™ and bamboo are both considered eco-friendly in the eyes of the masses, it is understandably difficult to differentiate their benefits and downsides.
Picking the right sheets should not be as complicated as it seems, and we are here to aid you in your decision - whether TENCEL™ or bamboo is better suited for you. From their similarities to differences, we cover them all in this article.
Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Classic Set In Cloud White
TENCEL™ Vs Bamboo
TENCEL™ and bamboo are both made from fast-growing plants that do not require any toxic pesticides to grow. Beloved for their hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking properties, it may be difficult to choose between the two. However, no need to lose sleep over this, we will be breaking down their differences for you to make a well-informed decision when it comes time for you to buy new bed sheets.
We will mainly focus on the comparison between TENCEL™ Lyocell and bamboo rayon (the most common bamboo fabric).
|Eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms
|Smooth, soft, and silky from the first day of use
|Soft and supple to the touch
Ultra cooling; breathable and moisture-wicking, excellent for regulating temperature in various climates
|Higher moisture absorbency than cotton, but not as efficient as TENCEL™
Smoother, drape or silk-like look; more vibrant as it retains dye better and is less prone to fading over time
|Drape or silk-like look
|Suitability for sensitive skin
|Anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic
Resistant to wear and tear; resistant to pilling with proper care
|Durable and stable
|More prone to wrinkling
Requires less energy and water to produce
Often marketed as “green” and “sustainable” due to its plant origin but it may not always be the case
Not able to withstand rigorous washing and heated drying
|Generally higher price point than due to costlier production. However, time and money saved on care and maintenance due to its durability makes the overall cost difference hard to quantify
|Slightly lower price point than TENCEL™
What Is TENCEL™
Lenzing’s core market is wood-based cellulose fibres. They manufacture Viscose, Modal, and Lyocell which are derived from sustainable wood and pulp - all certified and controlled sources. To produce this material, wood pulps are dissolved in a solvent and extruded through small holes to make fibres. The resulting fibres are then treated and spun into yarn.
Image From TENCEL™
Types Of TENCEL™
As noted earlier, TENCEL™ is Lenzing’s flagship brand for textiles using a variety of fibres that range from Viscose to Lyocell. Originating from all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable sources, the various fibres may be difficult to tell apart.
|LENZING™ ECOVERO™ Viscose fibers are made from sustainable wood and pulp, coming from certified and controlled sources
Modal is the second generation of regenerated cellulose fibers and was first developed by Lenzing who has the trademark for it
TENCEL™ Modal is made from beech wood, sourced from sustainably managed forests in Austria and neighbouring countries
|Mainly made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms
Eucalyptus trees are fast-growing and require no toxic pesticides and very little water to thrive
|Compared to conventional viscose, the production of LENZING™ ECOVERO™ branded fibres generate up to 50% lower emissions and water
Lighter, finer, stronger and more flexible than Viscose
|A more uniform internal structure gives TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres great strength, efficient moisture absorption and gentleness to skin
|Traditional manufacturing of viscose fibres is done through a chemical- heavy process that is often unregulated, producing toxic emissions and pollution
They can be blended with other fibres to improve its overall softness and comfort
|Production recycles water and more than 99% of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, making this the most eco-friendly of all cellulose regenerated fibres
Some fabrics may contain a blend of TENCEL™ fibres with other fibres such as cotton or bamboo, to create fabrics such as bamboo Lyocell. For a product to carry the TENCEL™ trademark and Lenzing TENCEL™ certification, it only has to contain 30% of the Lenzing fibres - hence it is important to check if the product you’re purchasing is pure or simply a blend!
Blends are usually done to improve the feel, performance or durability of the fabric. However blends of TENCEL™ fibres typically do not retain the best of either material, hence, it is always better to go pure.
As Lenzing embarked on a journey to discover an alternative, eco-friendly production process in the 90s, they started making great strides in the field of Lyocell technology. And in 1997, the first full-scale Lyocell production plant went into operation at Heiligenkreuz, Burgenland (Austria). Following this, Lenzing also managed to acquire the TENCEL™ trademark in 2004, and the rest is history.
So what makes TENCEL™ Lyocell stand out from generic Lyocell? Generic Lyocell is often made from wood pulp and birch trees whereas TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are mainly made from sustainably sourced eucalyptus wood that is harvested from natural forests and sustainably managed tree farms.
Image By Madison Inouye From Pexels
TENCEL™ Lyocell is also extremely versatile. From bedding and home products, to apparels and intimates, TENCEL™ Lyocell makes great fabric for all. While it might be pricier than the average fabric, we believe that its benefits outweigh the cons and that purchasing TENCEL™ Lyocell-made products is a worthwhile investment.
Benefits of TENCEL™ Lyocell
1. Silky Soft & Strong
Because of the natural structure of the Lyocell fibre, TENCEL™ is popular for its exceptionally silky and smooth feel. Long fibres are woven to create a smoother surface that provides maximum comfort and gentleness ideal for people with sensitive or easily-irritated skin. TENCEL™ is also strong and durable which makes it easy to maintain.
Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Classic Set In Fern Green
2. Improved Breathability & Moisture-Wicking Properties
TENCEL™ Lyocell is known for being extremely breathable and cooling. It’s perfect for hot sleepers as Lyocell fabric can wick excess moisture away quickly, keeping the body cool during sleep in a wide variety of climates.
If you are likely to sweat in your sleep and struggles to find cooling sheets so you can stay night sweat-free all throughout, then TENCEL™ sheets may be the thing for you. The ‘cooling feeling’ this temperature-regulating textile gives is ideal for Singapore’s hot weather conditions!
Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Duvet Cover Set In Sky Blue
Without the use of any chemical additives, perfect moisture control also prevents bacterial growth. TENCEL™ Lyocell, a naturally derived fibre, is hypoallergenic and biodegradable, making it the ideal material for people with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
3. Wrinkle-Resistant And Great Colour Retention
The fact that TENCEL™ Lyocell is less likely to wrinkle and less likely to fade with regular washing is another appealing quality. Additionally, it is not prone to shrinking and won't get thinner with time.
As a robust fibre with greater dry and wet tensile strength than silk and Modal, TENCEL™ Lyocell can maintain 85% of its dry tenacity under wet conditions, which enables the fibres to maintain their shape. Because of this, Lyocell sheets dry quickly and are generally simple to iron and maintain.
Featuring Weavve’s Signature TENCEL™ Deluxe Set In Sand Taupe
4. Environmentally Friendly & Sustainable
Production of TENCEL™ fibres is undeniably more environmentally friendly than other fibrs as it involves a closed-loop process that recycles more than 99% of the solvent used in manufacturing. It also uses less water and energy than conventional cotton production.
Apart from minimal waste and better water conservation, TENCEL™ itself supports verified climate protection projects, specifically in communities impacted by the textile industry. These projects aim to help ill-prepared communities become more climate-resilient and introduce them to new sources of renewable energy. For example, improved cookstoves in Bangladesh, solar water heating in India and Kamphaeng Saen landfill gas to energy in Thailand.
This gives consumers who are all for sustainability a peace of mind knowing that they are supporting a brand that cares deeply about Mother Earth.?
Drawback of TENCEL™ Lyocell
While the global Lyocell fabric market is estimated to reach 745.9 Kilo Tons (KT) by 2027 from 415.6 KT in 2018, it is still a small percentage of the global fabric market. With growing demands and high manufacturing costs, the price of TENCEL™ Lyocell remains slightly higher than other alternative fabrics such as cotton and polyester.
However, we are optimistic that this con can be improved over time as seen by the opening of a new Lyocell fibre production plant by Lenzing A.G. in Prachinburi (Thailand) to strengthen its production capability. The plant will have a production capacity of 100,000 tons and will be operational by the end of 2021.
What Is Bamboo?
Bamboo has traditionally been used to signify luck and prosperity, especially in Asian households. However, the bamboo we will be touching on today is its fabric. As the textile industry moves towards being environmentally sustainable, plant based fibres such as bamboo entered the spotlight as a replacement to conventional fabric.
Bamboo, like eucalyptus, grows in abundance. Moreover, being a self-regenerating and fast-growing plant, it is easy to assume that its fabric would be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Which it is when compared to cotton cultivation, which requires a substantial amount of water and pesticides. However, does it really live up to the hype?
Image By Karolina Grabowska From Pexels
There are two types of production for bamboo fabric - mechanical and chemical. Mechanical manufacturing involved bamboo plants being crushed manually into mush and further broken down using natural enzymes. The fibres are then combed out and spun. Bamboo fabrics made mechanically are also known as Bamboo Linen.
On the other hand, chemical processing of bamboo fabric is the more popular process out of the two. It involved the use of harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide instead of using natural enzymes as it quickens the production process. Though it is more time efficient, the harsh and toxic chemicals leave a negative impact on the environment. Bamboo produced through this process is sometimes called Bamboo Rayon.
Image By Anna Shvets From Pexels
With more and more bamboo sheets being labelled as ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’, it can be overwhelming to know what to look out for when buying them for the first time. Read on to learn more about the different types of bamboo fabrics, with varying processes involved in production.
Types Of Bamboo
|Raw Bamboo Linen Fibre
|Firstly, the bamboo plant is macerated in an alkaline solution that dissolves the plant into cellulose. It is then run under high pressure through a nozzle to turn it into a fibre.
|Also known as CleanBamboo™, 100% Bamboo Lyocell is the most sustainable Bamboo fabric.
Pure organic bamboo pulp is crushed, washed and spun into yarn, instead of being processed chemically.
|Produced mechanically, the process is very similar to the manufacturing of common linen fabrics.
The wooden parts of the Bamboo plant are crushed mechanically before the bast Bamboo fibre is extracted and spun into yarn.
|Resembles cotton linen. Silky to the touch, thermoregulating, and hypoallergenic.
|Silk-like, smooth, and soft. Thermoregulating, cooling, and antimicrobial.
|Being less chemically intensive and polluting, it usually contains the most amount of natural bamboo fabric.
|Chemicals used like carbon disulfide is a toxic chemical that can potentially cause neural disorder and pose danger to the human reproductive system. While the revival of solvent is 50%, 50% is likely to be discarded into the environment.
|Production recycles 98% of water used in the manufacturing process, making this the most eco-friendly out of the options.
|Though less chemically intensive, this type of bamboo fabric may be slightly coarse and wrinkles easily, hence it may not be ideal for intimate bedding products.
It is also very labour-intensive, thus, it is important to verify that the manufacturer uses fair and safe labour practices
If you were searching for Bamboo Rayon on Google, chances are that “Bamboo Viscose” popped up in your searches. This is because Rayon and Viscose are seen as synonymous and used interchangeably in the market. However, there is a slight difference between the two, mainly in the manufacturing process.
This history of Rayon dates back to the late 1800s when scientists were looking into creating a silk alternative. Rayon is a fabric that is made from raw materials like bamboo or wood cellulose, whereas Viscose is derived from wood cellulose and plant fibres, which are made into a viscous liquid then undergo a series of chemical processes. The organic viscose liquid is what makes both rayon fibres and cellophane, thus Viscose fibres are deemed a type of Rayon.
Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between Rayon and Viscose, we can dive deeper into the benefits and drawbacks of Bamboo Rayon.
Benefits Of Bamboo Rayon
1. Softness & Durability
Comparable in touch to silk or cashmere, Rayon from bamboo bed sheets can feel luxurious. This is thanks to their longer fibres which wick moisture away from the body, reducing the feeling of being sweaty and clammy under them. They can also last a long time when cared for properly and dry quickly, making them ideal for those in smaller apartments without a dryer.
Image By Anete Lusina From Pexels
2. Naturally Hypoallergenic
Some health-related benefits of bamboo sheets are that they are naturally antifungal and antibacterial. When compared to traditional cotton, they are also much less susceptible to mould, mildew, and odour. Making them great alternatives for those who have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies.
Image By Sora Shimazaki From Pexels
Drawbacks Of Bamboo Rayon
1. Prone To Wrinkling
In terms of aesthetics, Bamboo rayon bed sheets can be more prone to wrinkling due to their softness and suppleness. However, it is important to note that it all comes down to the frequency of use and how it is being cared for. With proper care, these wrinkling tendencies may be limited.
Image By cottonbro From Pexels
2. Questionable Sustainability
As mentioned earlier, bamboo fabrics in theory make good alternatives for others who may not be as environmentally friendly. However, with chemical intensive production, the eco-friendliness of bamboo plants may not make much of a difference in the end. While bamboo Lyocell might a worthy substitute, it is harder to find.
The main comparison between TENCEL™ sheets vs bamboo is the solvent used in the dissolution process of turning wood into pulp. The solvent used for the chemical production of Bamboo fabric is Sodium Hydroxide (NaH), which is corrosive and potentially harmful to the surrounding environment of the production factory. Whereas, TENCEL™ uses N-methyl Morpholine N-oxide (NMMO), a comparatively friendlier solvent for the environment.
Image By Kaboompics From Pexels
Moreover, with the lack of standardisation between all bamboo manufacturing, unlike Lenzing TENCEL™, it makes it difficult for consumers to judge which are truly environmentally friendly. One way to avoid falling for ‘greenwashing’ is to look out for certifications such as Oeko-Tex and Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS).
However, it is important to note that not all bamboo fabrics are made equal and there are brands who produce them in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Thus, always remember to look out for certifications and trusted suppliers!
So is TENCEL™ better than bamboo? Well, it ultimately depends on your preferences. All in all, TENCEL™ Lyocell and bamboo fibres overlap in multiple ways - from their soft feel and silky drape to hypoallergenic properties, they are both worthy opponents in the fabric industry.
Which Is Better, TENCEL™ Or Bamboo?
Image From TENCEL™
TENCEL™ Vs Bamboo Cooling Properties
When it comes to hot sleepers, TENCEL™ sheets definitely take the crown for this. While both types of fabrics are breathable, TENCEL™ bed sheets feel cool to the touch, making them ideal for people who sweat as they sleep or Singapore’s warm and humid weather.
(There has not been much scientific research, but based on customer feedback, most who have used both have crowned TENCEL™ as the winner for most cooling fabric)
TENCEL™ Vs Bamboo Smoothness
Both TENCEL™ and Bamboo have similar feel - silk-like and smooth. However, we believe that TENCEL™ may be a better option as it is less prone to wrinkling as Bamboo, hence allowing you to have that luxurious look effortlessly!
Bamboo Vs TENCEL™ Vs Cotton
As consumers, we are spoiled for choices on the bed linen market - from Cotton, to Bamboo, to TENCEL™ - it is no wonder that it may get confusing when it comes to bed sheet shopping. Here is a quick summary for each material to help you get a better understanding.